Re: Prediction

Matthew S. Tomaso (Tomaso@MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU)
Sun, 10 Sep 1995 14:31:13 -0500

At 03:58 AM 9/10/95 -1000, Michael Thomas Carson wrote:
>Any law (from natural or behavioral science)
>is applicable within spatial and temporal boundaries. Further
>anthropological work (in the form of hypothesis-testing) can help to
>define these boundaries. Another good idea would be to explain why these
>boundaries exist. Ideas, anyone?

Mike correctly and properly differentiates between theory and law here, by
noting that laws must have spatiotemporal boundaries in order to be
objectifiable and authentic statements of fact. Theory, though often
treated as law, does not necessarily adhere to the rules of empirical phenomena.
Anthropology traditionally seems to go for a culturalogical explanation of
these boundary constructs... But before we get into that particular morasse,
what about the idea that any entity can not exist, or can not be perceived
to exist, without boundaries? In other words, even concepts and
abstractions (i.e. LAWS, models, ideal-types) must be constrained (defined
or objectified) in order to be comprehensible and useful. Existence in
space/time is likely to be a fundamental way of authenticating (or at least
providing a mask of authenticity) to any concept.

Matt Tomaso.
Anthropology. University of Texas at Austin.
Phone/Fax 512-453-6256